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By sijisunny at 2006-08-02 00:20
Author: Siji Sunny(CDAC-MUMBAI)

As per our project objectives, we were aiming to build and support community initiatives to produce and disseminate free/open source software systems, applications and content to help proliferate wide-spread use of IT in our society especially in villages. But to establish this requires resources like high speed computers, large amounts of disk space etc. So it is essential to find out a new solution for solving this problem,and this necessity guides us the invention of below described solutions which supports Indian language by using our Linux Operating system called as janabhaaratii Live CD .

1. Thin Client machines

The idea of a thin client is a smaller, less powerful machine that relies on a central server for processing duties with user-friendly interface enough for the average user. Because they provide the ability to effectively share a single workstation among multiple users. A school or cybercafe would be able to set up a single server and multiple client machines which have less computing power for a group of users at a fraction of the price. Plus, small business and schools would save on maintenance costs off the top.

We can have very inexpensive thin clients that you drop on to a network with little to no configuration time: They just work, and generally have few to no moving parts (e.g. HDD). so you can expand your user capacity, and save time (which saves man-hours, which saves money).

Here I want to reveal the different approaches of thin client mechanism:

Different methods for thin-client model Architecture.

a. Using LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project)

LTSP is an add-on package for Linux that allows you to connect lots of low-powered thin client terminals to a Linux server. Applications typically run on the server, and accept input and display their output on the thin client display.

b. Knoppix Terminal Server

This is also the customized version of LTSP, the simple method to create the thin-client architecture which is inbuilt in the Janabhaaratii Live CD. In this method, the server is running from the live cd only and the client can access that live cd version.

c. Using Nxserver

By using this method all user can gets a fully functional Linux system. This means:

1. Internet, email and printing support.

2. Access to your home directories in your Windows shares.

3. Access to all scientific and mathematical software centrally provided.

4. Access to Windows office applications via the Windows Terminal Server

By the using the Janabhaaratii Live CD we were successful in enabling Indian Languages on the client side for the users in all of the above mentioned methods. The current version of the Janabhaaratii live CD is freely downloadable from our website-

1. Hardware requirements for Server

The following are minimum requirements:
  • PXE Bootable computer (via BIOS, floppy disk or network card)
  • 9GB Harddisk
  • 256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
  • 400 MHz Pentium 3
  • CD Rom

2. Hardware requirements for Client

The following are minimum requirements:
  • Network Card
  • PXE Bootable computer (via BIOS, floppy disk or network card)
  • 32 MB Minimum
  • Intel 386 or above Processor

2.Linux On Flash Memory

Nowadays, there are more and more USB memory devices available, that are Plug & Play (driverless) via the standard USB 2.0 interface. These drives have up to 2 GB storage capacity, which are light weight and low cost compared to any other R/W storage device.

Generally, newer BIOSes allow USB flash drives to be bootable devicies. So they can be used to diagnose system problems without going into the operating system. USB keys can also be used to kickstart a system which is then booted the rest of the way from the hard drive. Obviously this also reduces the price of computer.

We have also made a merged solution of the above mentioned technologies. This means, in Nxserver technology, for example, we just require a live version of any Linux distro, generally booted from cd. Here we can use a bootable USB drive which includes a customized version of linux. It increases the booting speed, can allow some disk space to be used by the user for storing data etc.

By using any of these methods we can utilize the "garbage" machines which include older configurations like intel 386 processors, 32MB RAM etc, that don't require Hard Disks, Floppy Disks ,CDROMs etc. Thus this concept envisages development of technology to suit Indian languages, dissemination of the same, deployment into diverse sections such as mass applications, education, rural areas, infokiosks, cybercafes, e-governance, content creation etc.


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